Top 3 Most Helpful Content Strategy Resources

Developing a content strategy was a new challenge, and I found myself turning to a few resources over and over. In case you, too, are ready to embark on this challenge, here are my trusty companions:

  1. Content Strategy for the Web, by Kristina Halvorson. This is the book I used most while thinking through our strategy. It provides a broad intellectual framework for the whole idea of content strategy. I found the sections on connecting content back to key messages particularly helpful. It’s nicely designed, too.

  2. The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators, by Eric T. Peterson (free download). A content strategy rests on clear, measurable goals. The introductory chapters were particularly helpful, as they discuss what kinds of numbers make meaningful metrics. The actual compendium of indicators is exhaustive and more worth skimming than reading.

  3. Letting Go of the Words, by Janice Reddish. This is a more nuts-and-bolts book, and I turned to it a lot for the sections of our content guide that address how to structure text and arrange content on pages. I highly recommend it for anyone actually creating content.

These three resources were the ones I kept on my desk and flipped through constantly as I worked on the strategy. A few other resources cropped up frequently, too:

The Nielson Norman Group’s nonprofit usability study (I’ve posted about it before) supplied a lot of good insight on what people expect from nonprofit web sites in general. If we hadn’t already incorporated its findings into our goal-setting and persona-building phases, I’m sure I would have turned to it a lot more while working on our content strategy.

Yahoo’s writing style guide is an excellent source of simple and wise writing advice. Useit.com, the Nielsen Norman Group’s site, also has a bunch of great tidbits, both in their (expensive) reports and their (poorly organized) Alertbox columns.

Finally, it can be daunting to start on the actual content inventory and content-making process. These blog posts from Connection Cafe helped make the whole endeavor a little more bite-sized. They offer quick checklists for evaluating basic messaging, taking an inventory for a redesign, and tips for assessing your content.

Did I miss any good resources? Let me know!